February 04,2002

Grassley Comment on the President's Budget Proposal

Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking member of the Committee on Finance, made the followingcomment on President Bush’s Fiscal Year 2003 budget proposal.

“It’s always up to Congress to go over the President’s budget proposal and see whether weagree with the spending and cutting priorities. It’s wartime, and we have to spend enough money towin the war on terrorism. While we’re spending that money, it’s important for Congress to makesure the money is well-spent, and that the taxpayers get a good deal. It’s also important to rememberthis is a proposal. Congress always rewrites the President’s budget proposal. The DemocraticcontrolledSenate is responsible for producing a budget that addresses the nation’s priorities,including defense, homeland security and prescription drugs, while protecting Social Security andMedicare. Right now, I question whether the Democratic-controlled Senate has the leadershipcapability to do this.

“I agree with the President’s tax priorities, including making last year’s tax cuts permanentand approving key alternative energy tax credits, such as the wind energy tax credit I’ve sponsored.On health care, I’m glad to see the President has addressed the uninsured and a Medicare prescriptiondrug benefit. His interest in a prescription drug benefit will help us get the ball rolling in Congress.I’ve been asked whether I agree with the dollar amount -- $190 billion over 10 years -- the Presidentproposes to spend on prescription drug assistance. It’s too early for me to judge whether I agree.I’m working with a tri-partisan group of senators on the Finance Committee to introduce legislationthat builds a long-term prescription drug benefit into Medicare. We’re drafting that legislation now.When we get the policy right, then we can focus on the price tag.”